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Leather overload – The different grades of leather

Leather has a versatile use in making articles ranging from footwear and clothing to fashion accessories and furniture. The major reason for the extensive popularity of leather products is their impressive durability and contemporary look, compared to any other material. When planning to buy leather products, the knowledge of different grades of leather is useful as well as fundamental.  

Different types and grades of genuine leather


Top grain leather - is the leather that has been made from the outermost layer of the hide. The natural grain is sanded away from the upper surface of the leather to remove any imperfections, making it thinner and easier to work with. The fine, dense network of fibers in top grain leather concludes the amazing toughness and durability of the material.


Full grain leather - refers to the entire grain layer of the hide and isn’t sanded like the surface of top grain leather. This grade is the highest quality of leather of all the grades. Since full grain leather is not sanded, the surface of this leather shows all the raw and beautiful imperfections and marks. The strong and dense fiber in the natural grain results is exceptionally robust and adds durable characteristics to the material.

As full grain leather ages, it acquires an unparalleled and beautiful patina that is loved by leather enthusiasts. Aniline dye is often used in finishing full grain leather, called Aniline full grain or true aniline leather.


Corrected grain leather - is made from those hides which have excessive scars, scratches and other faults. The hide goes through thorough finishing processes like sanding, buffing, stamping and lastly dyeing. The objective of these processes is to create a uniform look of the leather. After the finishing treatment, the leather holds no real or natural grain.


Nubuck - is top grain leather produced by brushing and sanding or buffing the grain to create a texture like velvet. This also corrects the imperfections in the hide. If you run your hand across the surface of nubuck leather, its shade slightly changes. Nubuck leather is soft and sensitive and hence, great care must be taken against staining and soiling of the material.


The Corium - is the fibrous under-layer of the leather hide, which when separated, is called the drop split. Split leather is made from this drop split, as the name suggests. Split leather comes in varying thickness, depending on the use of the material. It is less costly compared to other grades of leather.


Suede leather - is made from the inner part of the split to create a softer finish. It is not as durable as the top grain of full grain leather, but its softness and flexibility make it popular for clothing. Suede is preferred in making shoes, bags and other accessories.


Bicast - leather falls into the cheaper grades of leather, made from polyurethane or vinyl coating applied to the surface of split leather. It is more popularly known as PU leather and is stiffer than top grain leather. The material is embossed to make it look like it is a grain.


Patent leather - is made by giving a high gloss finish with coating to split leather. The modern versions of this leather come in the form of bicast leather.


Bonded leather or reconstituted leather - is made from leather remnants and pieces from clothing and footwear factories which is recycled and bonded together with polyurethane on a fiber mesh. Synthetic grain is applied to the material and finished. Bonded leather is called ‘Genuine leather’ and utilized in many low priced leather products.  

1 comment

  • jjuevihjeq

    Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

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21 Degree
C/o K. M. Trade Link
1st floor, Vedanta House,
Office no. 3, Tejaswini Society Lane 1,
Aundh, Pune, Maharashtra, India - 411007


21 Degree
21 Degree is an online leather accessories store, headquartered in Pune, India. If you are looking for a great customer experience and the best pure leather cardholders online or at a leather shop, 21 Degree is your go-to destination.
Looking online for the trending cardholders or for the best men’s wallet or women’s belt, 21 Degree is your place to be. You can shop online at 21 Degree for our signature cardholder collection from the comfort of your home and get your favorite leather products delivered to your doorstep.
21 Degree site offers you the best online shopping experience for leather products – here’s how:

- All inclusive pricing – What you see is what you pay. Since e-commerce started in India, customers have been frustrated with seeing a difference price and paying a different one – while paying, they pay extra for taxes (GST) and shipping, sometimes packaging, and what not.
21 Degree understands that the customer needs a fair treatment – hence, our all inclusive pricing includes GST, shipping charges, etc. This provides the customer a great online shopping experience.

- Easy returns – It is easy to purchase but easier to return. Our hassle-free 15 days (calendar days) return policy makes it very easy for the customer to return if they don’t like the product. You can either return the product to our office in Pune, India at your own cost or we can get it picked at actual shipping charges. Read our Return policy for more details.

- Pure leather guarantee – All products listed on the 21 Degree website are in pure leather. Post production, a sample of our product goes through a lab test for ensuring that the quality is genuine leather.

- Prepaid v/s cash on delivery (COD) 21 Degree offers both options for payment, Prepaid or Cash on delivery (COD). COD is chargeable at an extra Rs. 50/- (this is what the courier company charges us) while Prepaid is available at no extra charge.

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